Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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Jodie Foster ’84: the speech of a lifetime

In November, actor and director Jodie Foster ’84 celebrated her 50th birthday—and her 47th year in show business. That's long enough to qualify someone of Foster's stature for a lifetime achievement award, and that's just what she got last Sunday night at the Golden Globe awards. Accepting the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Cecil B. DeMille Award for "outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment," Foster delivered a speech of nearly seven minutes (transcript here) that was the talk of the Internet for much of the week.

Was it a "coming-out speech"? Not really, as she explicitly said it wasn't—and that she didn't owe the world a public declaration of her sexuality. Some gay and lesbian advocates, like Andrew Sullivan, faulted her for taking the further step of seeming to ridicule those who do make such public statments. ("Now I'm told, apparently," she said, "that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a prime-time reality show.") Slate's J. Bryan Lowder, though, found Foster's speech "amazingly honest." Other observers, like actor and Twitter denizen Joshua Malina ’88, were more bothered by the fact that her escort for the evening was Mel Gibson.

Foster talked about more than her sexuality. She praised her ex-partner, with whom she is raising two sons; she spoke movingly of her love for her ailing mother; and she spoke of the award marking "the end of an era and the beginning of something else." Afterward at a press briefing, she explained that it didn't mean she was retiring from acting or directing, but that the lifetime achievement award felt like "a kind of graduation." We can't wait to see her postgraduate work.

Filed under Jodie Foster, Golden Globes
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